Tuesday, January 12, 2010

You would not believe the DUST that accumulates in a 150-year-old barn!

or maybe you would...

In case you haven't spent much time in old dusty cobwebby barns, let me describe it for you.

The spiderwebs are no longer web shaped like webs because the weight of the brown dust drags them down.  They hang like dirty hammocks from the beams and boards of the ceiling.  When the broom pulls them away, they drop more slowly than you'd expect of something that looks so heavy.  Clumps of brown-grey fall to the floor, like the underworld version of candy floss; something meant to be delicate looking, but turned into evidence of neglect.  The dust itself is not just dust anymore but so substantial that it falls to the floor in blobs.  I run the broom along the top edge of a beam and that sticky dust rolls itself up and descends lazily.  The air is full.  The surface of the wood was whitewashed decades ago, but now the white flecks freckle the air and coat the floor with powder.

So it's a tough job but I gotta do it.

No really, I do.  Just pulling down the cobwebs won't cut if for me.  I de-cobweb regularly but this is hardcore.  I'm brushing down every sticky piece of old whitewash, every strand of spiderweb, every thick sludge of brown dust.  I never had time to do this before, and now's the time.

After two hours of scrubbing the ceiling with a broom, I was only about a quarter done.  And I still found a couple nails and things to pull out with the crowbar, and I know I'll keep finding spots I missed.  Then I have to sweep the floor and clean out all the troughs.

And you know what?


It's kind of addictive.  After I brush a joist clean, it looks good, but I can make it even better, cleaner, so I go at it again.  It just keeps getting better!! Already I can tell it's brighter in the barn.  It feels cleaner.

And yes, I am wearing a respirator mask.  (I wish they made them in child size.  Damn thing either rubs under my eyes or gaps under my chin.  My face is too small.  But it's better than doing this job bare-faced.)

This old barn has so many flaws, but it's what I've got to work with and I will not complain.  I'm lucky to have a barn in the family.  I'm lucky to have a place to keep my horses.  I just have to make it the best it can be.

It'll be worth it in the long run.  Because, doncha know, I am in the horse biznass and must have a respectable looking place.

(Be ready.)


Sydney said...

I know what you mean about the white wash and cobwebs. My friend Blue and I tackled our barn (cause you know I do this often just at barns I have been hired at) in the summer and wowiiiee was it a job and a half even though it had cows in it 5 years ago and the white wash is probably really fresh compared to your barn. A lot of work and a lot of headaches for an allergic person like myself.

Cobwebs in the home?? I try not to look at them.

JKB said...

I'm sure your place will be the most respectabul in the land once you're done!


Heidi Willis said...

Oh yeah! You're ready!!

The great thing about what you're doing is it will take the spiders at least a month to even begin to reclaim their space. That's a lot more time than it takes kids to dirty dishes and laundry. :)

lopinon4 said...

And, I gotta tell ya'. I frequent a lot of "new" barns, and there isn't the warmth: both figuratively and literally speaking. Your barn sounds WONDERFUL!

mugwump said...

A dusty barn is a great back drop for newly clean tack and horses in their summer coats.....

Four Dinners said...

150 years of dust eh?

Wear a mask...;-)

...and leave the spiders alone!!!!

I like spiders.

Heidi the Hick said...

I like spiders too, because they eat flies and I don't like flies.

These spiders vacated awhile ago though. Just left their sticky webs to collect dust, and they scrammed.

Y'know I don't think it's really 150 years worth of dust but it sure as heck looks that way!

Dad said this particular family of ours has never been all that fussy about keeping a clean barn. I mean, my grandpa was a full time preacher and full time farmer plus there were six kids running around. And my Grandma managed to feed everybody and like, sew all their clothes and be generally amazing so I could give them a free pass on the barn back in the day.

Me? I'm not known for having a spotless house... I'll have a clean barn instead! haha! Mind you, I get pickier about the house the cleaner the barn gets.

AAAAUUUGH when will this madness stop????